RE-ARMED “Worldwide Hypnotize”

“Worldwide Hypnotize”
Lately it feels like the world has been invaded by a new wave of thrash metal bands. Everywhere I turn I step on a new thrash metal band. Not that I’m complaining. I like a really good thrash metal album. I still play my old Forbidden albums while I bang my head uncontrollable. Continue reading


“Power Dive”
If you know me you know that I like female-fronted bands. Voices Of Destiny are a new hopeful band with an album out. Hopeful that they’ll have what it takes to stand out in an ever-increasing market. As if female-fronted bands is a genre all its own. To me what matters isn’t if there is a woman singing but if the music is any good. I don’t care if this is thought of to be the next Edenbridge or if it is supposed to compete with Nightwish. Continue reading

Battle Beast – “Steel”

Battle Beast – “Steel” (Nuclear Blast)

The winners of Wacken Open Air’s 2010 Metal Battle (and not for being the ugliest band in the world – well, that’s what it sez on their Facebook site LOL), things have moved incredibly fast since for this young Finnish band who play contemporary heavy metal influenced by Priest, Accept and Manowar – as well as those 2 inch action figures courtesy of Japanese anime series “Berserk! But what really sets apart BB from the pack are the soaring, powerful femme rock vocals of Nitte Valo, who really sets racy songs like ‘Savage And Saint’, ‘Show Me How To Die’ and ‘Justice And Metal’ on fire! Against this backdrop come thundering in the rest of the band like blizzard beasts and the material takes an epic, almost operatic feel in its magnanimity of incredible solos, hammond organ harmonies and catchy melodies. Lordi may have been tongue in cheek, but BB are just cheeky, so much so in fact, that you find it hard to resist them!

Wolfen – “Chapter IV”

Wolfen – “Chapter IV” (Pure Legend Records)

WOLFEN are METAL. It proudly sez so on their site and this 4th album in their 15 year long career pretty much attests to that. Based in Cologne, these guys have toured with the likes of Annihilator, Kreator, In Flames, Hatesphere, Tankard and many, many more which is probably why they’re not that well known outside their native Germany, simply cos they’re popular enough there. Still, things might change with “Chapter IV” as it’s a damn fine contemporary heavy metal album drawing inspiration from the greats like Maiden and Metallica as well as those they’ve toured with. Offering the full range of material from chopping thrashers like ‘Nefilim’ to fast Metalli-bangers like ‘Unbroken’, this meat n potatoes metal with no frills, choirs or keyboards, only the strength of the musicianship and quality of songs. Truer words couldn’t be spoken on the powerful ballard of ‘Birmingham 6’ – as moving as the injustice of the true to life court case involving six men, wrongfully convicted for an IRA bombing in the 70s. I’m not sure how a band from Germany could relate to this but they clearly have, and in a very deep way, as reflected by the emotional vocals and the charged atmosphere especially in the chorus of ‘…freed at last, after 16 years, freed at last, to the joy of tears….’. Mightily impressive and as such, Wolfen have proving beyond all reasonable doubt that they are ready for the next step into the big league.

Stahlmann – “Quecksilber”

Stahlmann – “Quecksilber” (AFM Records)

If industrial / dance beats sung with a distinct Germanic baritone voice is your thang, then look no further than Stahlmann. Even the name sounds like the deal! Representing the next wave of ‘Neue Deutsche Härte’ pioneered by the likes of Kraftwerk, Die Krupps and Rammstein, it’s a style based on an underlying philosophy all too familiar to Stahlmann: ‘…we follow the mechanics of everyday life and run commands as if we were robots. Only at night, we awake to life and immerse ourselves in a world that is going on in the clubs…’. To that extent, Stahlmann have gone for a more danceable feel this time round to bring some soul into the machine, creating a more accessible and palatable experience with less overwhelming and bludgeoning beats, as well as a better mix of all the instruments including metallic guitar on the Theatre Of Tragedy like ‘Diener’, the futuristic neo of ‘Tanzmaschine’ and the dark, anthemic rock of ‘Am Grundle’. It pretty much works, although this is still by no means club material – not unless its some underground goth / alt fetish club in Berlin or the Slimelight in London LOL!

Inferion – “The Desolate”

Inferion – “The Desolate” (

‘…The Desolate is a tribute to the immeasurable forces of destruction and devastation. Without them, we have no future..’ so speaketh the apocalyptic duo of Inferion, back from the battlefields of Iraq where main man guitarist/drummer/vocalist/composer Nick Reyes was deployed with his U.S. Army Unit. With that in mind, it doesn’t leave much to the imagination as to what this might sound like – intense, angry, black metal with strong Nordic riffola a la Burzum! When I look into Nick’s eyes he has that hollow, soulless look that so many servicemen have brought home, but at least on this album he has channeled it into songs like ‘It Began with Blood’, ‘Numerous Lacerations’ and ‘The Killing Process’ which are typically violent in theme and definitely in nature! Be fearful, be very fearful indeed if this boy lives near you…..

The Kandidate – “Facing the Imminent Prospect of Death”

The Kandidate – “Facing the Imminent Prospect of Death” (Napalm Records)

Totally kick ass! These Danes have been listening to huge doses of old Entombed and the result on this album is 11 tracks of hateful crossover mixing in abrasive hardcore a la early BioHazard with the death n roll of their Swedish cousins: hoarse vocals; dirty reverb guitars and shakin’ bass lines bring it all home on tracks like ‘Fucked In The Search For Life’, ‘Standing On The Cliffs Of Madness’ and ‘Let The Maggots Have It’, though the album as a whole is one baadass mutha of a moshpit! It’s really cool having bands like The Kandidate cos they simply don’t hold back and considering this is self produced by the band’s own vocalist Jacob Bredahl in his own studio (Dead Rat), “Facing the Imminent Prospect of Death” is a stupendous release! Having already won the best band in the Danish Metal Awards and played Roskilde, The Kandidate will be touring heavily this year across Europe and further afield into Russia and China no less – I’m definitely looking forward to catching them!

Stay Okay! – “Time To Grow”

Stay Okay! – “Time To Grow” EP (

These 4 young Irish punk poppers pack a heavy emo punch in their melodies on this aspiring EP. Formed just 2 years ago, their honest, uncomplicated approach to their music has garnered them more support as they’ve progressively toured the Emerald Isle to build up a fan base. The EP title is actually pretty apt, reflecting a band that is coming of age on songs like ‘My Day’, ‘Lay Your Worries To The Grave’ and ‘Towards The Finishline’, from Tim Chadwick’s Fergal Sharkeyesque vocals to Irtiza Malik’s guitarwork effectively contrasting mid tempo rock riffs with oh so catchy melodies. Quiet and pensive on the one hand, while being emo charged the next, Stay Okay! offer a moving little package on this EP – rock on boys!

VAN CANTO Interview

With their aptly named 4th album “Breaking The Silence”, a capella band Van Canto are unique in using their voices to mimic the sound of conventional rock instruments. Shan Siva gets the word from lower ‘rakkatakka’ vocalist Stefan!

1. LOL – who’s sick idea was it to start an a capella metal band and why (not)?!

Stefan: It was started an a project and turned out to be a great band. Why? Because it’s cool to have a band that sells records and plays on the biggest festivals around the world, haha 😉

2. I must confess, that when I first heard about Van Canto I thought it was some kinda joke band – what made you think that it would be so successful?

Stefan: We never expected anything, so we are just as surprised as you are. But we didn’t plan it as a joke. It’s hard work and we are working professional so I think in the end it’s ok to have some success.

3. I saw you guys at the Rocktower Festival in Lubeck in 2010 – I was wondering how all you guys managed to fit onto that little Treibsand stage but there were so many people there it was clear how popular the band was.

Stefan: Ok – thanks – yes, I nearly fell off the stage LOL – but it was a good show!

4. Why did you not also include the drums in the a capella?

Stefan: Because then it sounds like disco pop ;-)!

5. You guys do a mixture of covers (and they are excellent versions if I might say so) and originals so is there a physical limit to the styles that an a capella can handle i.e. industrial, thrash etc?

Stefan: Hmmm, not a physical limit, but a limit of taste. We love melodic metal, so we have to sing melodic metal songs you know?

6. How have your covers been received? You’ve chosen some formidable bands like Manowar and Maiden – guys like Bruce Dickenson and DeMaio don’t exactly strike me as having a sense of humor (or at the very least asking for a royalty) when it comes to covering their material or impersonating them personally?

Stefan: We were invited by Manowar to play on their festival, so I’m quite sure they like what we are doing. All covers we release did get permission by the original publisher or artist.

7. I bet it must be easy for you to tour? Aside from the drums all you need is your mike?

Stefan: No, sorry, you’re actually wrong LOL: we have In-Ear-Monitoring for every musician, our own monitor desk, some effects and bring our own light and pyro with us!

8. What does the term ‘rakkatakka’ mean – it seems to have become some sorta battle cry by your fanatical fans LOL

Stefan: It’s one of the sounds we use to imitate a guitar. So Rakkatakka Motherfucker is a great battle cry LOL!

9. Do the members of Van Canto have a metal musical background?

Stefan: Yes. We all played in regular metal bands before. Bastian and me in Jester’s Funeral, Sly in Synasthasia, Ross in Deadly Sin, Inga in Fading Starlight and Ike in cp rono.

10. With all the technology available nowadays, do you feel more or less limited than your peers playing via instruments?

Stefan: No, we don’t feel limited. The human voice is great and it’s great what you can create by singing together.

Ok, thanks for your time!

Stefan: Thanks for your interest in Van Canto!